What grade are you finishing and where do you go to school?
12th Grade (senior in high school) at Kamiak High School.
What TFT trips have you been on?
How many countries have you traveled to?
What do you travel for?
I travel for the ability to meet new people. My favorite thing about going someplace new is connecting with the locals and learning about their lives and where they live. My favorite travel memories are always having a conversation with a local and learning small bits of their native language. There is something amazing about getting to know someone new and it is always something I look forward to.
Funniest travel moment. Go!
One time my best friend and I traveled to Spain together. We were staying in a hotel by the beach that was on the lower level. We had a deck and there was a room above us with a deck as well. My friend and I had just gotten out of the shower after feeling gross from a whole day of walking and sightseeing. We went to sit outside and began to put lotion on our legs. As our legs were super sticky from the lotion, we saw a wind flow of brown stuff fall down and stick to our legs. As we look at our legs we notice tons of hair stuck to our legs. Turns out the man in the hotel room above us had just finished shaving his chest and had gone to shake of the towel with all of his hair on it. It was absolutely disgusting and the worse part was we didn’t speak the same language as the man, so we couldn’t yell at him!
What does being a part of TFT mean to you? Why do you want to make TFT a part of your life (AKA joining the lifelong Brand Ambassador program)?
Language learning and connecting with others is something that is very special to me. Whenever I have the chance I try to interact with others and learn everything I can about them. Whether it is hosting an Australian exchange student, practicing Japanese with visiters, or traveling to Spain with a Spanish family, I am very passionate about doing everything I can to connect with others all around the world. I want to make TFT a part of my life because I want to be able to share my experiences, and encourage others to travel more, and expand their world knowledge.
Two interesting things about each country you went to that other people may not know?
These are pretty small things, but I thought they were pretty funny. When I went to Paris, I was craving a chicken quesadilla from Chipotle. Thankfully, Paris had Chipotle, and we asked our TFT counselors if we could go, and of course, they said yes. Well, turns out Paris Chipotle doesn’t have quesadillas. They had tortillas, chicken, and cheese, but nope – they don’t have quesadillas. Also, they call McDonald’s “Mac-Do,” which I thought was pretty interesting.
Tell us about one person (or a group) you met and how they impacted you.
My TFT group on my 21-Day Language trip in Paris and the South of France group was actually incredible. All of the kids on the trip were extremely different and came from different backgrounds. My roommate, in particular, was someone who at first I didn’t think I would have a lot in common with. But it turns out she was a very sweet girl, who I really grew to love. I met a lot of amazing friends, all of whom I still keep in touch with. It is nice having friends all over the United States and learning about their hometowns and where they come from. It is nice because some of us are applying to the same colleges, so we might see more of each other in the future.
How have you grown as a person through travel? What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me that there is so much more to the world than I would think. It is easy to get stuck in your own bubble, in your own town, in your own school, but once you leave and see the world, you are put in new situations that you would have never been in. You learn a lot about yourself through these new experiences and are able to grow as a person.
Describe a challenge that you overcame while traveling, how you overcame it, and how it impacted you positively.
This is kind of a funny one, but when I was in Paris I got sun poisoning. I will insert a picture so you can see how bad it was, but my entire face looked bruised and puffy. It was kind of scary because at first, I didn’t really know what was going on. I thought it was an allergic reaction, but I didn’t know what to. With time and lots of sunscreen, the puffiness and bruising went down. It impacted me positively because now I know that when my parents tell me to wear sunscreen and hydrate, it’s for a reason. Maybe now I will listen to my parents more, so that’s good. 🙂
Something you learned about yourself while traveling?
I learned about my passion for language learning. I started taking French because it was a requirement in high school. However, when traveling I learned how important it is to be able to connect with the local people. That has sparked my desire to minor in French in college, and possibly study abroad. When going to Spain, I learned how much learning a few words in Spanish can make a local person’s day when you are trying to communicate with him or her.
Favorite city/town/place and why?
Dallas, Texas! A lot of my family is from Texas and for some reason, I just love the atmosphere there so much. I love how the people there seem especially friendly. I love that there are so many fun places to go. I really like Texas because it is very different from Seattle, WA (where I live), and it is fun that a place in the same country can be so different!
What is the biggest lesson travel has taught you?
Seize the moment. When you travel somewhere, soak in everything you can. Usually, there is so much to see and do, but not a whole lot of time, but still do the little things. I think my favorite travel memories are doing local simple things, like reading at gardens or eating crêpes on the metro. I will apply that to my life, to soak in every moment. Instead of stressing about getting everything done, it’s important to enjoy every little thing.
Despite being a traveler, what’s the most touristy thing you’ve done that is definitely worth doing again?
Go to Paris on Bastille Day. For a lot of people, going to France in July sounds like a nightmare. Lots of tourists go during that time of year, especially on Bastille Day. But watching the firework show on Bastille Day was, without a doubt, one of my favorite experiences of all time. It is a very patriotic and special day for a lot of French people, and it is very special to be a part of that spirit. Going to France during those summer months is, without a doubt, worth it, even though it is a very busy time of year there.
Best local mode of transportation and why?
The metro! Metro surfing is one of the most fun things I have ever done. The metro was honestly my favorite place and you really get a feel for the local way of life when you are on it. Usually, people who are commuting to work ride the metro and it is fun to be surrounded by people like that instead of just tourists.
If could travel to any country, which one would it be and why?
I really want to travel to Italy. I am half Italian and Italian culture is extremely rich and sounds amazing. My favorite food is Italian food and there are so many fun places to go in Italy. It seems like every city is extremely different. From Milan to Rome, to the Amalfi Coast to Sicily, it is all very different and I want to experience it all!